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Despite calls for her resignation, an Amherst school administrator says she's not going anywhere

Doreen Cunningham, assistant superintendent for diversity, equity and human resources for the Amherst Regional Public Schools, addresses the regional school committee.
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Amherst Media
Doreen Cunningham, assistant superintendent for diversity, equity and human resources for the Amherst Regional Public Schools, addresses the regional school committee.

An embattled administrator with the Amherst, Massachusetts, regional school district said she has no plans to leave her job.

The teachers union for the Amherst schools recently took a vote of no confidence against Superintendent Michael Morris and the assistant superintendent for diversity and human resources, Doreen Cunningham.

The union called for Cunningham to resign, citing unethical hiring practices and a “toxic work environment." It also called for an investigation of Morris.

An investigation is already underway into allegations some counselors at the middle school mistreated LGBTQ students, including failing to support students who were bullied and misgendering trans students.

Three staffers members were placed on leave after a report by the Amherst Regional High School student paper The Graphic outlined the allegations.

During a school committee meeting Tuesday, Cunningham said she hoped the schools and community can work jointly to "come back to the light," and made her intentions clear.

"I am not resigning,' she said. "I'm looking to the possibility of working with the community to make the necessary changes."

Cunningham also stood by her hiring practices.

“As I worked diligently to diversity the ARPS community through our hiring practices, with the help of the community and the input of the community, I will also work to ensure the safety of our staff and students who identify, openly or not, as part of the LGBTQA+ community," she said.

After a lengthy public comment session, the school committee met Tuesday to begin the process of selecting an acting superintendent. Morris announced late last week he was going on leave due to health reasons.

The committee came up with eight names, including several internal candidates, to consider. Cunningham has said she does not want to be considered for the acting post.

The school board is scheduled to meet again Thursday.

Adam joined NEPM as a freelance reporter and fill-in operations assistant during the summer of 2011. For more than 15 years, Adam has had a number stops throughout his broadcast career, including as a news reporter and anchor, sports host and play-by-play announcer as well as a producer and technician.